The Target Trap

One of my financial pitfalls is that I usually overspend at a store I go to nearly every week… Target. Since there are two stores in my town and both have grocery sections, it’s very convenient for me to stop there and make one stop vs. also stopping at the grocery store. But that’s not the area that becomes the problem… it’s all of the other areas in the store, and I know exactly why: I am their ‘target’ market. I think it’s something like women between the ages of 18-40, so I fall nicely into the middle at age 31.

The problem is that I can easily drop $100 on each visit to Target. If I visit once a week, that’s $400 a month. And what do I spend it on? Cleaning supplies, groceries, random household items like picture frames and pillows, but also clothes, fun jewelry, makeup, hair products, pet items for my parents’ and sister’s doggies, and so on.

Because I recognize how easy it is for me to spend at Target, for a while when we were trying to get our debt snowball on track and save up a healthy emergency fund, I would do two things: 1) make a list of only necessary items before heading to the store, and 2) only bring in enough cash to buy the items on the list. Honestly, there were still times when I decided that new nail polish was a ‘necessity’ but overall, making a list and sticking to it really did help.

The last time I visited Target was on vacation with two of my cousins’ wives. We needed some grocery items, but also took a look at the cute baby clothes for their kids and clothes for ourselves. I’ll admit I spent about $55 on nothing much: bread, Vitamin Water (on sale), a hoodie (didn’t pack enough warm clothes), and 6 bags of M&Ms (on sale). I’m not super proud of this, but honestly, it’s better than it used to be.

Any stores that are major pitfalls for you? Tips for cutting down on unncessary spending?